Empower Hero – Ryan Myers

Ryan Myers was chosen to be the very first Empower Hero for the Empower Campaign. Ryan started off this year by stepping up to help recruit people at the OU Involvement Fair. His excitement spread like wildfire throughout the sea of green shirted freshman looking for direction, and making sure every person that walked by received a flyer about Empower.  Ryan has always gone above and beyond what he has been asked to do as a member of The Empower Campaign.  He is an individual who is dedicated to what he believes in, is full of enthusiasm and hard work, all while maintaining a humble personality.

About Ryan Myers
Age: 20

Major: Theatrical Stage Design

How you became involved with Empower: “I’ve been friends with Gwennan Richmond (the current President at the OU chapter) for a couple years now and I always heard her talking about it. Ultimately, I wound up checking it out myself and liking what I saw from them, so I joined up full-time. It’s the success we draw from direct action that really drew me in; I hear far too much about NGO’s saying things, seeing sad-faced children, but nothing much else than that and a Paypal banner. I found Empower to be different. It’s personal. And I’ll be damned if that doesn’t make a world of difference.”

Life goals: “Graduate with a BFA in theater, get out of Ohio, do great work where I want, and be happy. That’s most important.”

Favorite book: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.

Favorite movie: “My current favorite is fluctuating between Get Low and Synecdoche, New York.”

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Kelli

The Empower Campaign changes lives.

Everyday vulnerable children are obtaining an education based on the hard work volunteers do on campuses here in the States. The stories of these children are the reason all of the Empower volunteers work so hard.  Once a month a new story from Uganda about the children we serve will be posted to this blog.

This is the story of Kelli.

Kelli is an 11year old girl in p.6 class at School. She is an orphan living with her aged maternal grandmother and her 3 elder teenage sisters. Her sisters have all dropped out of school due to lack of school fees and their children.  Kelli is last born amongst her sisters. Kelli is shy, articulate, neat. Even though Kelli is shy she converses well when addressed. She is HIV positive and was constantly in and out of school.

The situation in Kelli’s home is really appalling; meals are irregular.  Kelli says she has often missed and been late for school due to lack of school fees. She also had to prepare her own meals to for school every morning.  Her class-mates always teased her about this, she said it hurt her a lot.

Kelli’s grand mother doesn’t work but they have a garden growing on land that has been loaned to them by the neighbors at the back of their house; this is were they get some food. They also have a cow that was given by one of the community organizations to households with kids living with HIV

In 2009 The Empower Campaign stepped in and started helping pay Kelli’s school fees. Ever since Empower stabilized her school payments her attendance and her grades in class have been impeccable.  Thanks to Empower ‘school meals package’ Kelli studies on a full stomach. Kelli loves it more at school than at home, for she finds comfort and solace studying, playing, sharing, exchanging ideas and making friends with fellow children. While at school, Kelli temporarily forgets her home problems and her struggle against AIDS.  She is getting a chance at a normal stable life just like any other child her age should.

Through gracious donations and the work all of our amazing volunteers, Kelli’s school attendance has stabilized, she also enjoys a delicious warm healthy meal at school, and her grades have improved greatly.

Kelli’s grandmother said her greatest happiness is an educated grand child in her household.

A letter from Pharidah Ddamulira

In my country, Uganda, education is ‘wealth’. The importance of educational attainment is well understood and agreed upon in Uganda but becoming educated is harder to achieve under current circumstances which jeopardizes the potential growth and development of individual children, their families, communities and the nation. Most Ugandans draw on metaphorical similarities to show how, since the nation is still young and developing, it is like a child that requires special care and nurturing and its due to this that the call for development through Education has awakened many nationals and outside sympathizers as well.

In Uganda, international organizations like The Empower Campaign and a progressive new constitution acknowledge the key roles that young people will play in the country’s future; the national youth Anthem even refers to them as “The pillars of tomorrow’s Uganda.” Children are therefore becoming-at least discursively –primary vehicles for social change and its due to this that children are entering into nation-building projects like Education not only as objects but as respondents and participants.

Thank you Empower Campaign supporters! Your love for Educating an African disadvantaged child has forested deep personal commitments amongst Ugandan youngsters to Self and National Development. Thank you!

Pharidah Ddamulira

Empower Kampala Program Coordinator